The Houston Chronicle has a very interesting page titled “Dead By Mistake”. It is a collection of very useful articles that highlight mistakes, accidents and negligence by hospitals and healthcare professionals. It is one of those things we don’t want to think about but it does happen. According to the site around 200,000 patients die each year due to the unused safety tools or not following procedures.
In fact, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) had published a full report in 1999 highlighting the problems with medical safety and the preventable deaths that were the result of medical errors. The report titled , “To Err is Human: Building A Safer Health System” has been influential in creating policy changes to improve the safety of medical care.
The Houston Chronicle page lists hospitals by state that are on the “honor roll” and also the ones that are on the “watch list”. It also shows a report where the reporters investigated various health departments and associations to determine where adverse event reporting systems are in place and what events are reported to the state. In a snapshot of Texas it is revealed that a law requiring the hospitals to report adverse events expired in 2007 and no law has been implemented since then. This means as of now there is no law that requires the hospitals to report adverse events. It also states that mandating hospital specific reports for hospital acquired infections was not allocated any funding therefore no reports have been issued.
A lot of these are startling revelations that may have severe consequences but have not been reported or publicized. The site also has a list of common errors with specific cases.
A big shout out to the team of Hearst newspapers and television stations for highlighted this critical and neglected aspect of health care.
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